A Color Story: Tips for Using Effects!

Jeff after 2We’ve been super excited to see all the fun ways you’re using the effects in the A Color Story app. So we invited one of our favorite photographers and A Color Story users, @jeffmindell, to offer up his best tips for using the app’s effects in a little Q&A!!

Q: What do you think are the best practices for using effects in A Color Story?

A: For me, I want all my images to feel really bright, happy and colorful, but also very natural. For example, the lime color fog doesn’t make sense to layer over a sky and cityscape, but for a flat lay on a table of the same color would look awesome! I wouldn’t shoot an interior of a home and then add in a warm lens flare, although that same flare would probably really make your image pop should you move your camera to the backyard outside of that same home! Biggest takeaway here is consider your environment and make editing decisions that make sense for that environment.

Jeff after 5Q: What are your favorite effects to use?

A: I mostly use light flares and color fogs. For flares, I like 7, 8 and 12. For color fogs, it depends. If it’s for a sky, I like peach, coral, mint, peony, sky. But if I’m filling in an existing color in my photo, I’ll use any.

Jeff after 3Q: How do you go about layering multiple effects?

A: For my images with skies, I like to start with a bright sky to begin with. So if the original image has a dark sky, I brighten that up first. Then, depending on the content/context/time of day, I’ll take that into account.

I try to keep in mind the natural color(s) of the sky, but definitely try and have fun with it whenever possible! In one of my images, you might for example see my base color as a light blue, and then I’ll layer in a mint fog followed by a peony fog in an upper corner near an added flare. With a lens or light flare, the colors that come with it are warmer, so the paired color fog should be a warmer tone as well. Your end result will look more natural and typically really pretty (see this next image as reference).

A Color Story Before-AfterQ: How do you consider your light source when transforming a sky?

A: In the opening photo for example, it was really dark, so I brightened it up. Based on the shadows under the cars, we can tell it’s midday so the sun is really direct and high in the sky. Considering my light source, I will layer shades of blue color fogs to my liking (I tend to lean more on the teal or turquoise hues vs. darker, richer blues). Then I will throw in a light flare or two on top of my color-fogged sky. This not only hides any imperfections I might have in the sky such as striations or graininess, but looks a little more realistic as we are photographing in harsh outdoor light to begin with. Might as well embrace the sun’s natural glow I say! Here’s the before/after of that:

A Color Story Before-After Q: Should you edit your photo before or after you add an effect?

A: I will always, always, ALWAYS edit or tweak a photo both before and after I’m done and happy with my effects I may have applied. Once I’m happy with my placement of any and all effects on my image, I will save it to my phone’s camera roll (just in case I want to use that as a jumping off point should I choose to redo anything!), and then bring the image back into ACS and test out a few of the app’s filters on it. I generally don’t go 100% on a filter but see what it looks like at 50-60% and adjust accordingly from there. By the time I’m done, I will have a pretty interesting before and after between my original and final images!

A Color Story App @jeffmindelThanks, Jeff! If you haven’t tried the app yet, it’s out now on iOS and Android! Go download A Color Story for FREE and send it to a friend who you know loves color! Happy Weekend!!  

Credits//Author and Photography: Jeff Mindell

  • WOWZERS I never would have thought to put mint and pink into a sky before but seeing the differences…it looks amazing! That’s why you get paid the big bucks, m’man! 😉

  • I honestly think Color Story is the best photo editing app. I even did a post on my blog talking about how I edit my photos. Ever since it came out, it’s the app I’ve been using the most. You guys did a great job! 🙂

    La Luna Vita // Post: How I edit my pics

  • I LOVE a Color Story. I went back to an iPhone just because I was to impatient to wait for the Android app to come out. Jeff and Kelly are my idols! I haven’t really messed around with effects yet, however, after this post I tried out some of his recommendations! I’ll be spending the next hour editing some photos. xx Allie

  • This is really helpful! I just a beginner at editing photos and it seems like it takes me forever just to do one photo and I haven’t really noticed I don’t have to go 100% on a filter until just recently. I’m really having fun with your Color Story app lately. Thanks for these tips!

  • I’m loving all these tips, Jeff! Thanks for sharing! I really need to try effects more- your edits look so natural, I shouldn’t be scared to play around with them. The before and after of the red bug photo is just INCREDIBLE!!

  • This is such a helpful post! I love A Color Story and I love Jeff’s pictures. I even use A Color Story to edit all of my blog pictures because I don’t have a camera! I’ve always love ABM’s apps but this has been the best one yet.


  • Haha!! Try it out next time on one of your images! There’s no right and wrong so just play around!

  • Sometimes I’ll send some of my DSLR photos to my phone JUST so I can edit with ACS 😉

  • This post helped a lot, thank you! I love seeing brighter and much more colourful photos like these, it instantly puts me in a better mood!


  • Wow! The difference between the original opening photo and the edited one is astounding. Did you do that all in-app? How did you get the car so red? I want to be able to make my pictures look like that!

  • This app currently is my favorite! I can’t get enough with the filters and effects, bring all of my crappy photos to the next level. Definitely go try this app, you’re gonna love it <3

    Anyway, thanks Jeff for sharing with us!

  • I love using A Color Story in my IG photos! I’ve got most of my friends using it now, too. Seriously – what an incredible app y’all have created. And I loved reading through Jeff’s tips – especially the fun before and after photos!

  • Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks! You finally convinced me to download the rest of the packs I was missing – can’t wait to play around with the news ones (including color fog)!

    And thanks again for creating this ahhh-mazing app, ladies. I freakin’ love it!

  • Such great advice, I always love how bright, crisp and colorful Jeff’s photos are plus I LOVE LOVE LOVE the app so can’t wait to try these new tips

  • I really enjoyed reading your tips, Jeff! Cool to see how other people use the app. ACS has quickly become my favorite app and I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with it. So many cool filters and tools. Great work, ABM team!:)

  • When is the app available for Android? it sounds great and sadly I don’t have an iPhone.

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